The Chronicle’s View: U crossed Jordan into the promised category of Outstanding Delegation

For the first time in school history, the U’s Model Arab League received the most coveted prize of National Outstanding Delegation.

The U’s squad also cleaned up in several other categories. Only Peter Jackson has gone home with more trophies this decade.

Yet these victories are just evidence of something many already knew: Middle-East Studies at the U are absolutely incredible.

Much of that is due to its phenomenal staff and direction, but the Model Arab League’s success testifies to the quality of its students as well.

These students receive no money, nor are they required to devote their time to the team. Hours and hours of preparation went into this victory, all out of devotion to greatness.

This is especially amazing considering where the program is.

The U is nationally known for its health-science programs. The Legislature would like to see more engineering students at the U. Little attention and funding are given to the College of Social and Behavioral Science.

Yet, like the Little Engine That Could, the Middle East Studies decided it was going to be a great program at the U, and it has become one.

It should be an inspiration to other programs at the U that feel like black sheep when money and attention is given to science and engineering. With dedication and direction, any program may become nationally recognized.

It’s also surprising that such a program would arise in Utah, not exactly the most demographically diverse state. When people think of Middle Easterners in America, they think Michigan. When people think people who can’t say their T’s or pronounce vowels properly, they think Utah.

The region’s population must have been an obstacle to the program’s leaders and the U is infinitely benefited by them overcoming it.

Because people around the country recognize the U’s program, a greater diversity of students from across the country are attracted to it.

Native Utahns benefit and a greater diversity of students at the U also occurs.